Every year, 1.7 million American citizens suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injury (SCI). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in excess of 3.5 million Americans suffer from a permanent type of brain injury, and 52,000 people die from brain injuries annually. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, almost 1.3 million people in the United States are paralyzed as a result of spinal cord injuries. While falls and sports-related injuries account for many brain and spine injuries, the leading cause of TBI and SCI is automobile accidents.
The spine is a complex combination of bone, tissue and nerves located in your back that runs from the base of your skull to your tailbone. It is comprised of three major component groups, 1) the vertebrae, which is the hard, bony part most commonly recognized as the skeleton, 2) intervertebral discs, or soft tissue, which acts as “shock absorbers” cushioning the vertebrae when you twist and turn, and 3) nerves, which run the length of the spine, and are often referred to as the “spinal cord”. While it is not uncommon to sustain an injury to the vertebrae and spinal cord, the majority of auto accidents result in a soft tissue, or disc injury.
The spine is comprised of discs. There are seven (7) Cervical discs (C1-C7) which are located in the neck area, twelve (12) Thoracic discs (T1-T12) which are located in the ribcage area, five (5) Lumbar discs (L1-L5) which are located in the lower back area and five (5) Sacral discs (S1-S5) which are located between the beltline and tailbone.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is the result of damage to the cells within the spinal cord and is most often associated with a traumatic, impact-related event. In more extreme cases, the nerve tracts may be severed causing an interruption in signals that are relayed up and down the spinal cord. On an annual basis, close to 15,000 Americans suffer some form of spinal cord injury, resulting in permanent paralysis in close to 66% of those injured. Even more shocking, the most common age and gender for people suffering spinal cord injuries are males between the ages of 15-35. While many people with SCI recover some function within six (6) months, the likelihood of substantial recovery decreases dramatically after six (6) months.
To better understand how spinal cord injuries occur, it is important to recognize what a spinal cord is. Comprised of bundles of nerves, a spinal cord is a conduit that carries sensory information to muscles, organs and tissue of the body to the brain. Protected by the vertebrae and the intervertebral discs, the spinal cord sends the information to enable the body and limbs to feel, move and react. In the event that significant damage to the spinal cord occurs, paralysis may result. A spinal cord injury does not have to result in a severing of the cord to result in paralysis. Quite the contrary, the majority of SCI occur in individuals who have spinal cords that are intact. The loss of nerve function is the main cause of paralysis.
As previously explained, the primary causes of spinal cord injuries are trauma related. Blunt trauma such as auto accidents, sports injuries and falls that crush fracture, dislocate and compress vertebrae. Penetration injuries such as gunshot or stab wounds may penetrate or cut the spinal cord. Ancillary causes, such as swelling, inflammation and bleeding from other types of injuries can contribute to spinal cord injuries and, to a lesser degree, non-traumatic injuries like infection, disease and tumors can also be causes.
If you have been involved in an accident that resulted in a TBI of spinal column injury, the injury and necessary treatment can be significant and confusing. What rights and benefits you may be entitled to can be equally confusing. You need the advice and counsel of a California brain and spine attorney that has experience with TBI and spinal injuries, is aggressive and not afraid to fight with the insurance company to secure everything you deserve. Call Watson Law Group, APC, for a free consultation and learn about the complex area of the law surrounding TBI and spine injuries. Insurance companies have attorneys whose job it is to give you as little as possible to settle your injury claim. You need a California brain and spine attorney by your side to help you receive all you are entitled to compensate you for your medical bills, pain, and suffering. Please call Watson Law Group, APC, at (949) 482-1850. You will be glad you did.
If you have any questions concerning what to do after a brain and spine injury case, or what option are available to you, please feel free to call or contact us, at anytime for answers, information and/or a free consultation.